Special feature

Dear Santa… We’ll tell you what we want, what we really really want…

Unsure of what to buy the pilot in your life for Christmas? Or, need to drop some last-minute hints? The FLYER team has thought long and hard – and come up with three presents, one reasonably cheap, one sort of in the middle, and one that’s really only applicable to a jackpot Lotto win…

It is non-stop fun and frolics when it comes to the festive season at FLYER HQ. Take a look at the selection of gifts that our very own Christmas elves have dreamed up… One cheap(ish), another – shall we say – ‘inexpensive’, with the (££££££££££) final offering that only a six-ball Lotto jackpot, in some cases on a double Rollover night, would cover. Just imagine being nipping down to the ATM (they still exist…) to make one ginormous, delicious withdrawal…

Ian Seager

Stocking filler: LED Pen torch £6.99

You can never have too many handy pen torches…

It’s hard to have too many torches, and this little pen torch is small enough to fit in any flight bag or pocket, and will almost certainly get used every time you go flying, as it’ll doubtless be handy during any pre-flight inspection or for looking into those aircraft with darker luggage spaces.

If you fly at night you’ll appreciate it even more pre- and post-flight. If you’re a baseball-wearing pilot, you can clip it to the peak to leave your hands free. Its bright white light won’t be ideal in the cockpit during night flight (although in all honesty, I don’t get on with the whole ‘dimmed red light’ thing). 

There are loads of options available in the pen torch category, although this one is light(ish) on the macho looks, and is powered by a convenient single AAA, and cheap enough not to cause too much trauma when you (inevitably) lose it. And if you do, you can add it to your Christmas list next year…

Pen Light on Amazon

Under the tree: Bose headset £1,269

I know, I know, they’re not cheap, but they are bloody good, and they will enhance your flying experience, particularly if you’re spending multiple hours in the cockpit. I’d be cock-a-hoop for Father Christmas to squeeze down the chimney carrying a pair of either the new A30s or the A20s. The latter might not be the very latest, but they are still a tip top headset that your ears and head will thank you for.

However, their popularity and high price have proven irresistible to many internet scammers, so if you’re buying second-hand (and there’s no reason not to if they’re in good condition) be very aware, suspended any trust, and strongly consider either buying from someone you know, or not handing over any money without picking up the headsets at the same time. Your ears will be delighted when Santa pops these new Bose headsets in your stocking.

Bose headsets

Lottery win: Cirrus VisionJet $3.3m

The overdraft will be a distant memory when you take control of this sleek machine…

The overdraft will be a distant memory when you take control of this sleek machine…

Almost all of General Aviation allows you to experience that magic carpet feeling, but not all carpets are equal, and the Cirrus VisonJet makes for one very comfortable carpet! Its relatively low cost (in Jet terms) means that I wouldn’t need multiple Euromillion. Lotto wins in order to see one in my hangar. 

As far as performance is concerned,  you’re talking up to FL300 and 300KTAS with a range of about 1,000nm with reserves, so think about the $1,000 Coq au Vin rather than the $100 burger.

I had the chance to fly left seat from Chicago Executive to Oshkosh just before last year’s AirVenture, and if you are used to flying modern glass cockpit aircraft, the transition to the SF50 doesn’t seem like it would be too much of a step (happily I had the Director of the SF50 product line Matt Bergwall sitting beside me to make it seem easy).

Oh, if any of my super lucky relatives are reading this, I’d like it in deep blue with a dark grey leather interior, please.

Buy a Cirrus Vision Jet


Dave Calderwood

Stocking filler:  X-Plane 12 Flight Simulator £60 

X Plane 12 Flight Simulator can take you worldwide

Why X-Plane over Microsoft Flight Simulator? Simply because X-Plane is designed primarily for Apple Mac computers and thus far superior to PCs. X-Plane’s latest version is 12 and is stuffed full with a fantastic choice of aircraft, the ability to ‘fly’ to 17,000 airports worldwide, ultra realistic weather effects, and, of course, it runs on a Mac. ‘Nuff said.

Buy it here

Under the tree: Flying in winter sunshine £ Depends on the package

How about a week at Naples Air Center in the Sunshine State…? That’ll do nicely – thanks Santa

For a pilot who needs to renew an SEP rating, or add on a new rating or just to finish a PPL: a week at Naples Air Center in Florida, USA. Naples has, on average, 264 days of sunshine per year with average temperatures from mid-70s in winter to mid-90s in summer. Plus, it’s on Florida’s west coast with superb beaches and restaurants. Not only that but Naples Air Center is authorised to train and examine holders of UK pilot licences – and EASA pilots too. If you want you could even get a UK CAA and US FAA licence at the same time.

Even if you’re current and have all the ratings you want or need, you can still go and rent an aircraft for some hour-building or sight-seeing.

Naples Air Center

Lottery win: A modern high-wing, all-metal two-seater: Bristell B8 £200k (estimate)

What a beautiful aircraft…

Much as I like old Luscombe 8s, even I admit they have their drawbacks. The cockpit is tight, the Continental engines are old, scarce and pricey, and well, they are old aircraft with the constant nagging worry of what’s going to go wrong next.

What’s the modern equivalent? The Bristell B8. It’s all metal (apart from composite doors), high-wing, has a modern Rotax engine (either a 100hp 912 ULS or 141hp 915iS, please Santa…), and has a cockpit width of 1.25 metres. Avionics are Garmin and include the G3X Touch. It has a payload of 270kg (240kg with the 915iS engine) and a max level speed of 117kt.

The only glitch at the moment is that it’s not yet approved by the BMAA as a 600kg Light Sport Microlight… but hopefully that’s only a matter of time. 

Bristell B8


Jonny Salmon

Stocking filler: IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles From £5.99

Probably the best WWII air combat simulator around. Experience the dread of heading back over The Channel in your Hawker Typhoon, streaming glycol and fuel after hitting a V1 base in France at sunrise.  Will you make it back? Pick up the base simulator in a sale on Steam for less than a tenner, then add different theatres of operations as DLC.

IL-2 Sturmovik

Under the tree: Lift Aviation AV1-KOR From $1,349

Top tip: Never fly without the correct helmet…

Helmets are a bit like flying suits, they always provoke a reaction. The only correct opinion is that helmets are like condoms, if someone else is wearing it, so what?  The AV1-KOR from Lift is a new breed of helmet to challenge the old-timers like Gentex’s HGU-55. It’s very light, comfortable and, if you buy it with their Oshkosh show deal – very well priced!  Lots of options mean you can configure it for all types of communications, colours, visors and more. Unlike condoms…


Lottery win: Daher Kodiak $2.3m

The Kodiak will keep you, your family and (ever-increasing number of) friends entertained and comfortable – wherever you venture!

Let’s face it, if (I mean ‘when’) you win the Lotto there’s no point being selfish and buying something with only one or two seats.  The Kodiak will keep you, your family and friends entertained and comfortable on any excursion, to any part of the world.  This is a magic carpet that you can land on the beach.



Ed Hicks

Stocking filler:  Lego Concorde £169.99

A few years ago Lego created a fabulous Sopwith Camel that was a hit with pilots who were still big kids at heart. This year, with the help and support of the Airbus Heritage team, the Lego master designers have come up with a truly stonking model of Concorde.

The model includes that classic drooping nose, retractable landing gear (including the tiny retractable tailwheel… yes, Concorde really had one of those) plus those elegant delta wings with movable elevons. At over 2,000 pieces and more than one metre long, this is definitely the perfect thing for a few rainy afternoons when you can’t fly.

Click here to buy on the Lego store!

Under the tree: Lightspeed Delta Zulu £1,195

At a slightly lower cost than Ian’s choice of the Bose A30, and with the clever integration of a Carbon Monoxide sensor and ‘HearingEQity’ audio equalisation system that allows you to create your own individual hearing profile to compensate for any hearing variations between ears, the Lightspeed Delta Zulu is the best headset yet from the company. It’s comfortable, well-made and delivers excellent ANR performance, so if you’re in the market for a higher-end headset, the Delta Zulu with all it can offer is great value for money.

Lightspeed Delta Zulu

Lottery win: Carbon Cub UL £ No-one knows yet…

Carbon Cub

I love a Cub… I learned to fly on them and have gone on to fly many of the variants. I think CubCrafters may have created something pretty special with the Carbon Cub UL. Announced in April 2023, this 600kg microlight version of the Carbon Cub will be powered by the 160hp Rotax 916iS, which I think might just be a match made in aviator’s heaven.

As for cost, CubCrafters still hasn’t said how much – the basic version of the current 180hp Carbon Cub SS is around £190k +VAT, so any guesses for the Rotax-powered version should start somewhere around that… Just keep your eyes off the options list, else you can expect things to get even more expensive…



Leave a Reply

  • 2
  • 3
Enjoy 3 Free articles OR Join today to enjoy unlimited access to all content
Join today

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all of these cookies.